Book Review: Bound by Sue Tingey

I know it’s been a while since I last posted, but I do have a good excuse. I moved house at the beginning of August, but only had a week to pack up my previous home. Prior to that, I was busy with contracts and making sure monies had been transferred. I think you get the drift.

Since moving in to my lovely new home, I’ve been surrounded by boxes, cases and bags, all of which I needed to find homes for. With the hours my fiance works, and the fact he’s recently started a new job, most of the unpacking was left to me. With my disability, it took a while as I’m sure you can imagine. However, I only have three boxes and one case left to go through, and the house looks like home.

I love it here. The house is lovely and it’s so quiet – a very conducive atmosphere for writing which I can now get back to. Anyway, that’s enough of the house stuff. Let’s get back to the review.

First, let’s take a look at the great cover:

Bound

Here’s the blurb:

Lucky de Salle was dragged into the Underlands against her will, but there she discovered a whole new world – and a whole new life. She always knew she was psychic, but discovering her ghostly best friend was in fact her daemon half-sister – and she herself is half-daemon – came as a shock. Falling in love with two men wasn’t in her plan either, but that’s working out brilliantly.

Or it was… until Jamie tries to use his powers to control her, and Lucky loses all trust in him. Then when Lucky’s enemies kidnap Jinx, intending to use his powers to destroy both human and daemon worlds, Jamie and his fellow Guardians are ordered to bring Jinx back – dead or alive.

If Lucky is to save him, and forgive Jamie, she must learn to use her own burgeoning powers – and fast!

How does that sound to you? Exciting eh? Well, here’s my review:

Bound, the third and final book in the Soulseer Chronicles, is a real page turner!

The plot is well devised and the pace is quite fast. The intrigue mounts, and each new and unexpected twist leaves you wondering what the heck is going to happen next. Sinister undertones weave through the book, adding to the reader’s captivation. The excitement ramps up throughout the novel and draws you in to such an extent that you really don’t want to stop reading.

For me, Lucky really shines in this third book. She learns to use her daemon powers to good effect and becomes a much stronger character as a result. She still has her vulnerable side though. Tingey writes Lucky’s emotions extremely well, making her even more three-dimensional than in the earlier books.

Lucky goes through a rollercoaster in Bound; as well as myriad emotions, she faces attempted kidnapping, being held prisoner, and a quest to save one of the men she loves. She finds out the hard way who she can trust, and receives support from unexpected sources. Lucky’s a great character who has you rooting for her through the entire novel.

Jinx goes to hell and back. He endures torture of the most brutal kind, suffers physical pain so extreme it would break lesser daemons, and emotional pain when he believes the woman he loves is dead. There’s a completely different side to him in this story which makes his character even more compelling.

The author has shaped Jinx so well that you reach the stage where you don’t really know how he’s going to react next. This, obviously, makes him especially intriguing and has you speculating about the end result. In my opinion, he’s a brilliantly drawn character.

Jamie is the character who I always felt was hiding something. He tells Lucky lies on a regular basis and always qualifies it by stating that he didn’t want to upset, worry, or hurt her. Some of the time, his excuses are accepted, but not until he’s plastered on the charm. Lucky is no longer the naïve girl he first met and she challenges him often. When she loses trust in him after he uses his powers to try and control her, you see a different side to him. However, he always maintains that he loves her, no matter what he does or says.

Although he shows his true self in this book, which not only makes you distrust him but dislike him too, you still see the sweet and caring side to him. This makes him something of an enigma and you’re unsure about the motives of his every action. In some ways, I found him one of the most interesting characters, and applaud Sue for the excellent portrayal.

Other characters really step up in this book; some you like/love, while others you love to hate. Each individual has their own distinct personality and voice, making them all the more interesting. Their parts in the novel are essential to the story and plot – Bound wouldn’t be as compelling without them.

One, whose part is significantly larger in this book, is Amaliel Cheriour.  He is deliciously evil, yet deluded. You could even say he’s completely bonkers!  His affection to afflict pain, brutalising his chosen subjects, comes to the fore in Bound. Why he’s like that is thought-provoking. There are a couple of twists concerning this character that you just don’t see coming, and they greatly enhance the storyline. He is extremely well-written.

Sue Tingey has a real gift for crafting characters, that’s for sure!

As with the previous books in this trilogy, the amount of description used is spot-on for my taste. The author presents enough to let your imagination picture the scene, and flesh it out if you so choose. This is an art in its own right. Some writers offer way too much description (Tolkien was one such author), whilst others don’t provide enough. How can you suspend disbelief if you are unable to immerse yourself in the world the story is based in? Personally, I love Tingey’s descriptive style. I can dive straight into her world(s) and happily stay there for hours.

In conclusion, I feel Bound finishes the trilogy perfectly. It’s exciting, compelling, sexy, and I couldn’t put it down. In fact, I enjoyed this trilogy so much, I’ve read it twice! This is a five-star read all the way, so if you haven’t got these three books yet, what the heck are you waiting for? Go get them — NOW!!!

Here is the Buy-Link: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Bound-Soulseer-Chronicles-Book-3/

My congratulations to Sue Tingey for writing such a fantastic trilogy!

In case you’ve missed my previous reviews of Sue Tingey’s books, learn a little more about her here:

Sue Tingey pic

Sue Tingey is the author of the fantasy romance series The Soulseer Chronicles and lives with her husband in East Grinstead, West Sussex.

She spent twenty-eight years working for a major bank and, after taking voluntary redundancy in 2001, spent another fourteen or so years working as a practice manager for an arboricultural consultancy. She has now given up the day job to allegedly spend more time with her husband; he however has noticed that an awful lot more writing appears to be going on.

Sue admits that storytelling is her obsession and was thrilled when she was offered a three book deal by Jo Fletcher Books in 2014.

You can learn more about Sue on her website www.suetingey.co.uk or contact on Twitter @SueTingey

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Book Review: VIKINGS: THE TRUTH ABOUT LAGERTHA AND RAGNAR

Since the TV series hit our screens, there has been a great deal of interest generated in the Vikings. Personally, and not having seen the series, I wasn’t bothered in finding out more about them. But then I read Vikings: The Truth About Lagertha and Ragnar by Rachel Tsoumbakos.

Before we go any further, here’s the fantastic front cover:And now here’s the blurb:

Lagertha was known to be one of the wives of the famous Viking, Ragnar Lodbrok. But did you know they first met each other at a brothel?

And just how long did their marriage last?

Plus, was Lagertha really the revered shield maiden we see her as today?

‘Vikings: The Truth About Lagertha And Ragnar’ will unravel all these secrets and reveal a story that is more interesting than anything you knew about them previously.

In Part One their story is brought to life with a historically accurate retelling. Part Two then explores the historical facts surrounding this story.

‘Vikings: The Truth About Lagertha And Ragnar’ aims to discover just how much of what we know of the shield maiden, Lagertha, and the famous Ragnar Lodbrok in popular culture today is actually true.

Discover the truth today!

The ‘Viking Secrets’ series explores the historical fact from present day fiction in regards to the Vikings and the extraordinary women who existed in the Viking era.

PLEASE NOTE: Each of the books in this series can be read as standalone books due to the nature of the sagas involved. Therefore, the book numbering indicates the order in which the stories were published and not the order in which they are required to be read.

My review:

This book has been cleverly written in two parts: the first part is what happened to both characters in story form; the second are historical facts. Both parts make for an extremely entertaining and interesting read.

In part one, Tsoumbakos brings the characters to life to such an extent that I was totally hooked and had trouble putting the book down. I became so invested in Lagertha and Ragnar’s story due to how well the characters were drawn. The emotions portrayed were relatable and not exaggerated giving additional intensity and showing the complexity of the characters. This shows the talent of the author.

The story itself was easy to follow and flowed effortlessly. The descriptions used, while not overdone, were sufficient for me to picture each scene as clearly as if I were there.

The dialogue was realistic, although we obviously don’t know for sure exactly how they spoke in the Viking era, but it gave extra depth to both the story and the characters.

Overall, I can honestly say it is one of the best stories I’ve read in the past six-months (and I’ve read quite a lot)!

With part two being more factual, I wasn’t gripped like I was with the story. However, the facts were well-presented and interesting enough to keep me reading until the end. Tsoumbakos has obviously researched the subject thoroughly and with the way this part is written, it’s easy to make correlations with part one.

In conclusion, I would definitely recommend this book, even if you aren’t into Vikings. The story alone is exceptional enough to capture your interest and well worth investing in!

Rachel Tsoumbakos

Author Bio:

Rachel Tsoumbakos has had several articles published through mainstream magazines and currently writes extensively for The Inquisitr.

Over the years, Rachel has been interested in many aspects of history. When studying a Library Studies diploma, she discovered just how much she enjoyed researching and has since used these skills in several of her novels. However, it was her work with The Inquisitr that brought her into the world of the Vikings and she has spent several years delving into the sagas of this culture as well as the history of the Viking Era.

Rachel lives with her husband, two kids, three cats and a flock of chickens in the idyllic Yarra Ranges, Australia. When she isn’t writing, she is working on her cardio as she trains for the zombie apocalypse.

Amazon Buy Links:

hyperurl.co/LagsandRags

Change of Direction

When I finished writing Heart Search, I had an idea in my head for a fantasy novel. I knew it was going to be different from writing Paranormal Romance, but I’m not sure I was prepared for how different it was.

First I had to start with world building and this is far from simple. As well as deciding what type of structures people inhabit, you’ve also got to take into account the laws of the land, money, terrain, how people make a living, how their food is grown, if there are various social classes and how each related to the other. You have to decide what type of era to set it in, for example, do the people live in mud huts or buildings made from wood, stone, bricks etc. This will also help determine what clothing is worn and how people speak. In short, you need to know almost as much about your new world as you do your current one.

The next important step was the magic system people would be using and who would have access to magic. I wanted to try and come up with something unique, something no one else had used before. This was pretty hard considering how many fantasy books are out there and eventually I came up with an idea I thought might be unique.

I also decided to create creatures which were different to the normal ones seen in fantasy. This part was quite fun and I enjoyed it immensely.

Once all this preparation had been carried out and carefully documented, I was then able to begin writing. There were many times I had to refer back to my notes so I was glad I’d got them available.

As much as I enjoyed writing it, I must admit to being a tad nervous as to whether the novel came across as believable and sent it off to my editor, Connie J Jasperson, who also writes fantasy (check out Tower of Bones, Forbidden Road, and Huw the Bard). She loved the story and the main criticism was that I’d invented my own system for time and measurement which she felt the readers would get frustrated with, so I had to abandon it. However, the fact she liked the story made me feel really good about it and it’s given me the confidence to attempt another fantasy novel, which I’ve already started the background work on, like the world building.

So what’s this new novel? It’s called Of Ice & Air and here’s the blurb:

On her 21st birthday, Princess Kailani’s father tells her that when she was a baby, her mother was abducted. She also learns she has family in another world.

Defying her father, she travels from her Cloud Castle home to the ice kingdom of Idenvarlis where Kailani’s instincts drive her to find the mother she doesn’t remember.

Gifted with the magic of two worlds, and skilled in the use of weapons, she journeys into unknown and dangerous territory. Despite her determination to rescue her mother, she’s forced to overcome new fears and find a way to cope with all she encounters.

However, a person of authority will stop at nothing to prevent either of them returning.

Kailani faces isolation, wild beasts, rogue soldiers, and more as she battles to return to the Ice Palace. With the stakes so high, can she make it back alive?

And here is the cover:

OIAA cover

So, what do you think of it?

I’m hoping to release the book before the end of this month so keep your eyes peeled on here for the details and an exclusive excerpt.

Book Launch & Review for Mountains of the Moon by Connie J Jasperson

As you saw a couple of days ago, I revealed the cover and book trailer for Mountains of the Moon by Connie J Jasperson (in case you missed it, click here). Well, I’m really excited to announce that today is the official launch day and as I was lucky enough to see the manuscript prior to it being available for sale, I decided to write a book review for you.

First though, let’s just have a reminder of the blurb:

Charged by the goddess Aeos, Wynn and his companions bicker and bumble their way through the Mountains of the Moon. Danger, mystery, and dark prophecies chase them through a gauntlet of jagged peaks and deadly traps.

Can they survive the dark secret hidden in Tauron’s crumbling castle before his minotaurs overrun Neveyah?

The Gods are at war, and Neveyah is the battlefield.

And now, here are my thoughts on it.

Book Review – Mountains of the Moon by Connie J Jasperson

MOTM Front Cover Final 6-18-2015

Having read Tower of Bones and Forbidden Road, I was thrilled when I discovered Connie was writing a story set two generations previous.

Wynn Farmer, the grandfather of Edwin (the main character in Tower of Bones), finds himself in what is, for him, unknown territory. He’s met by a mage who takes him to Aeoven, the main city in Neveyah, where he falls in love, marries, then finds out he needs to go on a quest with three others to stop a rogue mage from committing any further dastardly deeds.

I won’t say any more about the intricacies of the plot as I hate reading spoilers in reviews. However, I will discuss it in general terms.

The story begins slowly and gathers momentum as you continue through the pages, reaching an amazing climax just before the end – a bit like good sex really. But all innuendo aside, it has to be that way as the four questers train for a task that will test them to their limits. As the story unfolds, the main character grows into his skin, learning to control his magic along the way. Events affect all the companions prior to leaving for the quest which adds nicely to the story.

Once the quest begins and the four mages are on the outskirts of their destination, having had to deal with various strange creatures on route, the author turns up the heat. She twists and turns the fates of the four in ways which are totally unexpected. I’m not going to reveal whether they all make it out alive or uninjured – you’ll have to read the book for that – but suffice to say, the ending was momentous and satisfying.

Connie crafts her characters in totally relatable ways. None of them are without faults and some are more lovable than others, but all of the main cast are definitely memorable. The dialogue is as realistic as the characters. They have their strengths and weaknesses, fears, loves, and insecurities, just like you or I. My favourite character was Wynn, closely followed by Devyn D’Mal. Those of you who have read Tower of Bones will undoubtedly recognise that surname! Her ‘baddies’ are deliciously heinous, but are also realistic. They have aspirations to climb the proverbial ladder to success, which in their case is being rewarded by Tauron, the Bull God, but they also have their self-doubts, relationships, and varying degrees of arrogance and subservience.

Jasperson is one of the few writers on my bookshelf who can successfully build a world which is so exquisitely detailed, that it seems too real not to be fictional. She doesn’t go overboard with description, but gives just enough for the reader to fill in the gaps, yet does it in such a way that you don’t realise it. She knows the world she’s created as well as her own home town and it shows in her writing; there’s a confidence which runs through the writing as she talks about various places, which is a rare thing to find.

Overall, this book is well-written, gripping in all the right places, and a damn good story. I won’t hesitate to recommend this to fantasy fans, especially those who love epic fantasy, as I know for a fact there are more books being written in this whole series. And I, for one, can’t wait to get my hands on them!

Buy Links – Amazon http://hyperurl.co/MountainsOfTheMoon

http://bit.ly/MOTMKindle

http://bit.ly/MOTMNook

Connie 2014

 

Connie J. Jasperson lives in Olympia, Washington.  A vegan, she and her husband share five children, a love of good food and great music. She is active in local writing groups, an editor for Myrddin Publishing Group, and is a writing coach. She is an active member of the both the Northwest Independent Writers Association and Pacific Northwest Writers Association, and is a founding member of Myrddin Publishing Group.  Music and food dominate her waking moments. When not writing or blogging she can be found with her Kindle, reading avidly. You can find her blogging on her writing life at: http://conniejjasperson.wordpress.com

Connie J. Jasperson’s  body of work includes:

WORLD OF NEVEYAH series by Connie J. Jasperson

Mountains of the Moon – Danger, mystery, and dark prophecies, lie deep in a gauntlet of jagged peaks and deadly traps. Can Wynn survive the dark secret hidden in Tauron’s stolen castle before the Bull God’s minotaurs overrun Neveyah?

TOWER OF BONES, series based in the World of Neveyah

The gods are at war, and Neveyah is the battlefield.

This epic fantasy series opens with Tower of Bones, and follows Edwin Farmer as he journeys deep into the lands claimed by the dreaded Bull God, in an attempt to rescue a girl he has only met in his dreams.

Forbidden Road takes up Edwin’s story six years later. When four mages are sent into the shadowed lands claimed by the mad priest of the Bull God, who will return unscathed? Sorrow, peril, and magic await in the Valley of Mal Evol.

OTHER BOOKS BY CONNIE J. JASPERSON

Huw, the Bard, a novel that takes you to the world of Waldeyn, and a medieval alternate reality. Fleeing a burning city, everything he ever loved in ashes behind him, penniless and hunted, Huw the Bard must somehow survive. Available as an ebook and in paper.

Tales From the Dreamtime – a novella consisting of three modern fairy tales told in a traditional style. Available as an ebook, in paper, and as an Audiobook, narrated by the wonderful voice actor, Craig Allen.

Exclusive Competition

Sometimes, naming characters is as easy as breathing. Mostly they jump into my head, fully formed, and their names just pop onto the page without a second thought. However, on occasions, minor players are harder to place. Whilst they have their parts to play, and some of them are quite integral to a certain section of the story, their formation isn’t always quite as complete as I’d like.

In Heart Search: Found, I have a character who needs naming so I decided to run an exclusive competition on my Facebook page. To enter, all you have to do is ‘like’ my page and come up with a name to suit the character, whose profile is shown on there. The winner will have the chosen name in my new book. To find out what else you can win, you’ll have to visit the page, but be quick – the competition ends midnight GMT tomorrow! Good luck.

Click this link to take you straight there:

http://www.facebook.com/CarlieMACullen

Oh, and before I forget, watch out for the cover reveal of the second book in the Heart Search trilogy – coming very soon to a blog near you. I’m also going to be looking for reviewers in the next couple of weeks so if you’re interested in showcasing the cover reveal, the book trailer &/or reviewing the book, please leave me a message below. I’m only looking for a certain number of people, so get your name down fast. Heart Search, book two: Found is nearly here!!

#AprilPrompts Day 19 – Guilt

A couple of days ago, I gave you a little insight into Remy, the female protagonist in Heart Search: Lost. It’s only fair I give Joshua, the male protagonist, the same opportunity. His story is very different to Remy’s . . .

Guilt

Day 19 - Guilt

Day 19 – Guilt

After being bitten by a vampire, Joshua’s transformation is very slow, but he begins to change in subtle ways. You see this for the first time when he meets Remy off the plane from America and kisses her too hard.

In the days which follow, he becomes violent during lovemaking. Remy’s body, covered with bruises and scratches, appals him. How could he do this to the woman he loves? What has made him so vicious?

With no explanation forthcoming, and wracked with guilt, he packs his bags, leaves her a note and walks out of her life mere days before their wedding.

Joshua’s guilt doesn’t end there.

12524243466Waenw

He begins a new relationship with a member of the vampire coven he’s inducted into, and as his feelings grow for Jasna, Joshua suffers pangs of conscience. He still loves Remy, you see, and is conflicted. Despite abandoning Remy, ending their relationship in the letter he left her, he struggles with the notion he’s being unfaithful. At the same time, Joshua knows he’s being unfair to Jasna.

It’s unusual for a vampire to experience human emotions like guilt – they certainly don’t when they feed – but Joshua’s love for Remy and Jasna makes the difference.

Heart Search Test Cover 1 (2)

Affirmation

It’s strange how our minds’ work. It has this strange habit of sowing doubts, making us question things we were once confident about. Let me explain . . .

After finally publishing Heart Search, book one: Lost, I was euphoric. My dream of seeing something I’d written on the pages of Amazon had come true and I was riding a wave of triumph; I’d achieved my goal!

I knew early on in the writing of Heart Search: Lost that the story wouldn’t fit into just one book and made the decision to spread it over three. It didn’t faze me in the slightest, at the time, and I looked forward to getting the next section drafted. Once the blog tour was underway, I began making my plans to push forward with it during NaNoWriMo. It would give me the discipline and momentum I needed to get it written quickly, I told myself, and was eager to start.

affirm1

November 1st came and I sat down to write, full of ideas and inspiration, confidence running high, and then my mind decided to throw a spanner in the works.

Despite the fact the story was flowing quite well and I’d written over ten thousand words by the end of day three, I began to doubt my abilities. I suffered a crisis of confidence. Just because I’d successfully written one book, did that automatically mean I would be able to complete another one? Did I have another novel in me? Would I find enough of a story to finish it? Was I a good enough author to write a second book?

doubt

All these questions and more spun around in my head like a Tasmanian devil on crack, and it was a horrible feeling. On one level I truly believed I could achieve this second goal, but those niggling doubts had taken root and the tendrils were spreading. I kept my own counsel during this worrying time, dug my heels in and gave myself a strongly-worded lecture. And I carried on writing.

As the word count grew, and one chapter led to another and another, my confidence began to come back a little at a time. The fears didn’t go away, but instead of letting them overpower me, I took back control. I was determined to prove to myself that I wasn’t a ‘one-trick pony’!

I finished the first draft of Heart Search, book two, on 11th January – just eleven days ago – and have now begun the revisions and edits. I can honestly say I experienced the same sense of achievement and joy as when I finished writing book one; I’d overcome my misgivings, my confidence crisis and affirmed that yes, I did have it in me to produce another novel.

affirm2

I have no idea where the doubts came from or why my mind decided to throw me a major curve ball. What I do know is, I can fight it and win!